Radolfzell: Week Three

Time here seems to fly by; I cannot believe it has already been three weeks since I came to Germany. I get more accustomed to life in Radolfzell as each day passes. Although I occasionally slip into English, I do my best to go most of my day without it. I have been working on vocabulary, because I feel like I never have the words to say what I would like. I write down most words I do not recognize or know in a little notebook and define them on the next line. I never run out of new words and they are extremely useful to have with me.

Class is as it usually is, with lectures and discussions. My listening comprehension continues to improve, but it is far from perfect. Writing and reading seem much easier than they did three weeks ago. One interesting thing I realized is the number of languages the other people at the CDC already know. We do not have compulsory language lessons in American high schools, but most of the people here already speak at least one other language than German and their native language. For example, there was one day in class where half the students were conversing in French while only a few of us were at a complete loss. So I asked a Swiss student about how many languages she spoke, and she explained that she is from the French part of Switzerland but has learned English and is learning German because that is required of students at her school. I admire the ease with which the other students can communicate with a variety of people. It motivates me to work harder on learning to speak German, because I want to be able to communicate with people, even if they do not speak English.

On another note, ordering food and asking simple questions when purchasing things has become much easier compared to my first days in Germany. Less people switch to speaking in English with me, which makes me feel reassured that I am continuing to make progress. One of my favorite things to do here is go to flea markets. Many of the sellers do not speak English so they will engage in conversation in German with me, despite realizing that my German is not fluent. I have met many interesting people and learned interesting facts about Germany through the people and the items at flea markets. They are great opportunities to buy unique objects and converse with a variety of German locals. There is a giant flea market in Constance today, so large that it crosses over the Swiss border. I am very excited to be heading there today and will hopefully be conversing with many new people!

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